I-94 Pileup: ‘We’re Lucky There Weren’t 20 People Dead’

Posted at 10:09 AM, Jan 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-24 10:13:10-05

01-23-14 I-94 pileup imageMICHIGAN CITY, Ind. — The scene first responders encountered when they arrived at the I-94 pile-up that killed a Grand Rapids couple was daunting, said officials who held a press conference Friday morning.

“We’re lucky there weren’t 20 people dead,” said the Coolspring Township fire chief. His crews were first to arrive on the scene. “This will live with us forever,” he said.

Within the devastation, five or six people had to be extricated from their vehicles. “It was hard to prioritize who to extricate first,” said the chief.

When asked about highway conditions at the time of the pileup, an official from the Indiana Department of Transportation said there was a “full callout” on salt and plow crews in effect on I-94, and crews had gone through the area already.

The crash scene stretched about a mile, said one official.

It took about three hours to extricate one victim, because he was in the middle of a pocket of vehicles that meant several vehicles had to be pulled away before crews could get to him.

01-24-14 I-94 Pileup Press conference